Severe hepatic dysfunctions including hepatic cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma are life-threatening conditions for which effective medical treatments are needed. With the only effective treatment to date being orthotropic liver transplantation, alternative approaches are needed because of the limited number of donors and the possibility of immune-rejection. One alternative is regenerative medicine, which holds promise for the development of a cell-based therapy enabling hepatic regeneration through transplantation of adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AT-MSCs) or hepatocyte-like cells generated from AT-MSCs. When compared with embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, the use of AT-MSCs as regenerative cells would be advantageous in regard to ethical and safety issues since AT-MSCs are somatic cells and have the potential to be used without in vitro culture. These autologous cells are immuno-compatible and exhibit controlled differentiation and multi-functional abilities and do not undergo post-transplantation rejection or unwanted differentiation such as formation of teratomas. AT-MSC-based therapies may provide a novel approach for hepatic regeneration and hepatocyte differentiation and thereby support hepatic function in diseased individuals.
Keywords: Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AT-MSCs), regenerative cells, hepatic regeneration, hepatocyte differentiation, embryonic stem (ES) cells, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells
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